The e2e Supply Chain Management (Pvt) Ltd., a venture of Abid Butt, LUMS alumnus (1997 BSc Honors, Economics), topped the rankings of the AllWorld Network’s Pakistan Fast Growth 100. The AllWorld Network, established in 2007 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter, Deirdre Coyle and Anne Habiby, categorises private growth businesses and ranks the fastest growing companies.
As quoted by one of the local dailies of Pakistan, this listing is also termed as "The Oscars of Pakistani Entrepreneurship", where Butt was tagged as the "the Rock Star of the Summit".
Born and brought up in Karachi, Butt’s family moved to Singapore when he was 11. He moved back to Pakistan after high school and graduated from the LUMS BSc (Honours) programme in 1997, with a major in Economics. He then joined Maersk, and while there, he finished a distance learning MSc from the University of London in 2000. He also received a MBA degree from INSEAD in 2002.
In January 2011, the AllWorld Pakistan Fast Growth 25 ranking of the fastest growing companies in the country was announced. Butt’s company e2e, one of Pakistan’s leading end to end logistics service providers was among the top five fastest growing companies in Pakistan. This year, the winners of the Pakistan 100, were announced in Lahore on March 9-10, 2012, where e2e took the top spot, growing 1918 percent between 2008 and 2010.
e2e, launched in 2005 and specialises in local and international air, ocean and land freight, as well as associated supply chain management solutions, inclusive of warehousing and consultancy. With offices across the country and an established logistics and service platform, the company provides its clients with customised business solutions. e2e provides globally integrated logistics solutions tailored to individual customer needs, its customer services team excels at finding solutions to seeming impossible situations. e2e’s 2011 revenues were around USD 76 million, with over 400 employees working at the company.
While commenting on Butt's acheivements, Dr. Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor LUMS, said, "The University is extremely proud of the achievements of its alumni and this news is particularly heartening because it demonstrates the spirit of enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship which this institution cherishes so much."
He added, "Entrepreneurship is one of the areas in which LUMS is investing particular effort and attention and Lumnites like Abid Butt become great role models not only for current and future LUMS students but for Pakistan at large."
While talking about the AllWorld Pakistan 100 list he also acknowledged that he is not the only LUMS graduate in that list which also includes a large number of other LUMS related companies and individuals. According to Dr. Najam, "This is a sign that our quarter century long investment in the best young minds of Pakistan is paying off not only in the degrees that LUMS awards to them but in all that they do after graduating from LUMS."
Some of the other companies featured on the Pakistan Fast Growth 100 list, which are ventures of LUMS graduates included Lumensoft, MediaLogic/Optimedia, Corvit Networks, Arbisoft and Confiz Solutions.
Speaking of how he decided to start his own business, Butt smiled, “I always wanted to start my own company because I am not good with authority or taking orders. LUMS professors will vouch for that! However I didn’t know which area my company should operate in. So after LUMS I joined Maersk because at that time everyone else was going into banking or FMCGs. I wanted to go in an area which was new to me and that’s how I ended up in Logistics. Of course as soon as I joined logistics and learnt a little bit about the field, I fell in love with it right away.”
Recognising the particular challenges entrepreneurs face in Pakistan, Butt explained, “There are many challenges that entrepreneurs face, but specific to Pakistan these are mainly corruption and security issues, as well as the opaque and inconsistent government strategies and policies. Other issues faced by entrepreneurs across the world are good HR and access to reasonably priced capital.”
Butt attributes his success to a great team and many unexpected opportunities coming his way. “I also have a great support network at home, which makes it easier for me to go out there, work hard and take risks,” said Butt.
Talking of his future plans, Butt shared, “We will be expanding internationally in the region to countries in Central Asia, UAE, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We already have a company in Singapore which we launched last year. We have a significant presence in Afghanistan, and within Pakistan we want to diversify into related fields. Within logistics, agriculture logistics is the next frontier.”
Speaking of how it feels to be heading the Pakistan Fast Growth 100, Butt said, “It is great to be appreciated and it is excellent motivation for our employees. At the same time it provides great exposure for our stakeholders too.”
According to Butt, the AllWorld Network is doing incredible work and a great service to Pakistan by providing a platform for entrepreneurs and investors to interact with business leaders. He feels local businessmen should take up similar initiatives.
Offering advice to those who may be thinking of setting up their own businesses, Butt highlighted three things. “Firstly, you have to go all in. You can’t take any half measures. There is only one of going in, and that is all in.” Butt’s second point was, “Whatever you want to do, do it now. I know a lot of graduates think first I’ll gain some experience at different companies and then start up my own venture. You will make the mistakes anyway, so it’s better to make the mistakes as early on as possible.” The final piece of advice Butt gave was, “It is very important to have well-wishers around you. At the end of the day they are the support network you need.”